NEW CALEDONIA – The French president Emmanuel Macron has wrapped up his three-day visit to New Caledonia with an appeal to unity as the territory prepares for the November referendum on independence. In his last speech in Noumea, he said it was not up to him as the head of state to assume a position on how to vote yet he added that France would not be the same without New Caledonia. He acknowledged the colonial past, the segregation of the indigenous Kanaks and said their struggle to regain their dignity has been just. In France, the centre-right Republicans said Macron had committed a major error by expressing impartiality. The party’s Eric Ciotti said the president’s role was to guarantee the integrity of the French territory and not to be an observer on its soil. He said Macron had also used the language of the pro-independence camp, forgetting that France didn’t “possess” New Caledonia because New Caledonia “is” France”.
Tahiti holds second round of voting
FRENCH POLYNESIA – Voters in French Polynesia went to the polls yesterday in the second round of the territorial election. Three parties were left to contest the 57 seats for the next five-year term. The ruling Tapura Huiraatira of Edouard Fritch is the front-runner after securing 43 percent of the vote two weeks ago. The two other parties are the Tahoeraa Huiraatira and the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira. Following the first round, there have been claims of irregularities by the Tapura and one complaint has been lodged asking for the result on the island of Huahine to be annulled. Turnout two weeks ago was 61 percent. Unofficial results will be known later today.
‘don’t be a tosser’ is the message
SAMOA – “Don’t be a tosser” – that’s the message from the Savai‘i Samoa Tourism Association as they continue a campaign to keep Samoa’s big island clean. The campaign was given a boost when they were awarded UNDP funding to further support their advocacy efforts in raising awareness as well as mobilising volunteers to implement cleanups around the island. While volunteers took to the land and beach areas to clear away litter, tourism association member and owner of Dive Savaii, Olaf Weinhold, said his company was doing its bit to clean the lagoon areas of Savai‘i. “We go out diving or snorkeling if we see rubbish we take it up, usually what we see are mainly plastic waste and nappies,” he said.